In Bright Lights Paris: Shop, Dine, & Live … Parisian Style, Angie Niles invites readers to experience Paris as a true insider. The fashion publicist and brand consultant spent years living on both the Left and Right Banks, and with help from celebrities, bloggers, fashion designers, and chefs, she shares all the insider tips and stories that bring the city to life. “Paris has a magical spirit and beauty like no other place I’ve experienced,” Niles tells The Window. “I think it’s a combination of how beautiful the city is mixed with the energy and Parisian culture that continues to enchant people.”
Here, she shares the introduction from Bright Lights Paris, which she describes,” as more than a book, but also a beautiful scrapbook full of great memories.” Plus, read on for a recipe for one of her favorite Parisian cocktails: Ladurée’s signature Ladurée Royal with Moët Rose Champagne. Salute!
Excerpted from BRIGHT LIGHTS PARIS: Shop, Dine, & Live…Parisian Style by Angie Niles
When I lived in Paris, I would wake each morning to the bells of Notre Dame reminding me that I wasn’t just dreaming about Paris but actually living there.
Walking along the cobblestone streets, I discovered so many magical places and experienced all that this special city has to offer: open-air food markets with seasonal fresh vegetables and mounds of Camembert cheese ready to drip out onto your warm, crusty baguette; sensational restaurants delighting taste buds you didn’t even know you had; unique boutiques carrying the most intricately detailed baubles; manicured parks perfect for picnicking; and most important, the city’s residents, with a Parisian style and character all their own.
My first introduction to the City of Lights, however, was not on rue de Rivoli. Like many others, it started from afar, by first seeing the city’s beauty in movies like Breathless, A Little Romance, and Charade, with the everso-chic Audrey Hepburn. I was also lucky to have grown up near Disney World in Central Florida, with a petite Paris at Epcot. My mom and I had yearly passes from the time I was a kid until I finished college. Whenever we were shopping in Orlando, she would say, “Let’s go have dessert in Paris,” and we would drive to Epcot, stop by “Paris” for chocolate croissants or a gooey Napoleon pastry, and sit outside at their replica Parisian café.
This was the closest my mom or I had ever been to Paris. I loved the “mini” version so much, that I often found myself daydreaming of traveling to the real City of Lights and wondering what a Parisian girl’s life was like—how she lived, what she wore, who she was.
It wasn’t until college that I took my first trip to Paris. And it was while walking around Le Marais that I first encountered her: the Parisian Girl. There were women heading to the market for their weekly groceries, ladies looking impossibly chic as they browsed the modern art galleries and designer boutiques, and young women gathered at outdoor cafés sipping their café au lait with friends.
With every trip my fascination grew, and it soon became clear there was not just one type of woman in Paris, but more than a dozen . . . that Parisian girls from each arrondissement have their own unique sense of style and way of life. I was intrigued and delighted by their lively differences. From girls in Canal Saint-Martin wandering along the canal with a bohemian spirit, to the perfectly put together ladies in Saint-Germain-des-Prés who shop the art galleries and meet up for lunch at Café de Flore. And let’s not forget the eclectic artists in Montmartre and the chic modern styles of the ladies who ride their Vespas through the streets of the Marais.
Now, after living in Paris and many trips there since, I’m here to share everything I have learned with you. Join me through the life of Parisian women. We’ll go shopping with them to eclectic vintage shops, take weekend excursions to nearby vineyards, share their beauty secrets, and learn about the hidden gems only a true Parisian knows how to find. Whether you are planning a trip to Paris, dreaming of one from your living room, or just aspiring to live like a Parisian, Bright Lights Paris will show you the way.
Excerpted From BRIGHT LIGHTS PARIS: Shop, Dine & Live…Parisian Style by Angie Niles. Reprinted by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2015 by Angie Niles which can be found at all online retailers and wherever books are sold, including Barneys.com.
The Ladurée Royal:
Champagne Moët Impérial Rosé
A rose petal for decoration
Fill the glass 3/4 of the way with champagne, add in a tablespoon of the rose syrup and a few pieces of sliced strawberries. Top with a fresh rose petal.